NIMASA, NOSDRA & NUPRC Move To Clean Up Egina Oil Spills In Bayelsa State

By Lateef Adegbite

For the past three years, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, under he Leadership of Bashir Jamoh, OFR,  has been deeply involved in cleaning  up  oil spills in the Niger Delta region. Oil spill,  according to the Dictionary meaning is ‘’ an accidental  release of oil into the body of the water, as from a tanker, offshore drilling rig or underwater pipeline, often representing  a hazard  to marine life and he environment.

Nigeria has faced  legal challenges over  oil spills at the Nigerian Delta region  , which had mostly been attributed  sabotage  and vandalism of pipelines  and illegal refining. The Italia  Eni oil Company, subsidiary, Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC,  had said that least the North American country of the United States, US, $12 billion  would be needed  to clean up oil spills in southern Bayelsa alone  n a 12 year period.

Indeed, given the November 15, 2023, oil spills at Egina field in Bayelsa sate, which is located  in approximately  600 meters  of water and is  150 Km  off the coast of Nigeria,   may have encouraged  JAamoh, Director General of NIMASA, described as a workaholic I maritime circles  and his Management  Team  to  set up a  monitoring  group on  the oil spills incident  which was said to have occurred  during loading  operations in the Egina  loading bay. A source confirmed that the egna field development consists  of a floating  Production Storage  and Offloading, FPSO, facility unit  and a Subsea production sysem.

It was said o have been initially discovered  in 2003, with peak production of 200,000b/d in 2019. A source in NAOC, informed The Magazine  that  the Egina field is the second development  in oil production in the Oil Producing and Petroleum Exporting countries, OPEC,  on the Oil Mining Lease  , oml, 130,  following the Akpo field which was said to have started in 2009 as revealed by  Yuan  Guangyu, the CEO, OF NOOC limited. CNOOC,  a wholly owned subsidiary of  NOOC limited,  according to Yuan, holds 45% , participating shares of OML 130  Oil block  , in partnership with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, now baptised  Nigerian Petroleum Company, NPCL, with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill , PIB, by the National Assembly and signed into Law by former President Muhammadu Buhari, in August, 2021.  

There are indications that Total  Nigeria Limited holds 24% I equity shares in the Company, and is the operator  while Petrobras  Oil and Gas BV, holds 16% interest  and South  Atlantic  Petroleum -SAPETRO holds 15% in the oil producing Company.

A Stament by Edward Osagie, Assistant Director and Head of the agency Public Relations had said that it is not doing it alone but working loosely  with the  National Oil Spill Detection  and Response Agency, NOSDRA, and  the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC , from  the crisis  Management  Room , CMR,  where the spills is currently being monitored   real time  using oil   monitoring software  from  the Emergency Response Centre.  NIMASA and NOSDRA, could synergise to control the Egina oil spills because  the two agencies had signed a Memorandum of Understanding on  April 24, 2019, during the Administration of Dakuku Peterside on marine oil spill management. The objective of the MOU, an inside informed The Value News   was‘’to strengthen  cooperation  with proactive  and calculated response  to marine  oil spill  in Nigeria’’.

Egina oil field spills spread to the rivers

The NIMASA spokesperson, may have kept Nigerians waiting in a tight corner whether to believe to believe that the Egina oil spills really took place or not. He had said that ‘’it is not yet confirmed that the Egina spills occurred  but that  Total Energies  is helping out in providing  aerial surveillance , dispersant application, noting that  further mobilization  is being considered as well.

He had said that the United Kingdom, UK, based  Oil  Spills Response Limited is also assisting  with pollution control  measures  in the area.  He was said  to have disclosed that  ‘’Reconnaissance Survey  of the affected area confims  that the   shoreline Communties  of Andoni, in Bayelsa state,  Qua Iboe terminals, Akwa Ibom state  and Bonny Iland, , Oobo/NKoro and Estern Obolo, all Communities  in Rivers state which are he closest  to the Egina oil  field  are not yet  affected by he pills.

, NOS Jamoh, the NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he disclosed that  the agency is also working closely with industry stakeholders  to control  the pollution  that may crop up as t a result of the oil spills incident  and put the necessary measures in place  to prevent such occurrences in the future, in line with  the provisions of the International Convention  for the Convention  of Pollution  from Ships, regarded as the MARPOL Convention of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, a United Nations, UN, maritime agency.

The NIMASA CEO, had  revealed that since  the Egina oil spills incident occurred on November 15, 2023,  the agency staff  have been liaising  with other organs of  government  at the Federal level,  ‘’to ensure  that the pollution is  effectively controlled  and managed  to protect the marine  environment  and Communities close to the location of the oil spills.

He noted that oil  spillages do happen at the Niger Delta region, but  it’s what happen thereafter   after the pills that matters. It was not no surprising why he had said that the agency collaboration with NOSDRA, NUPRC and International service providers that will surely ensure proper management of the current oil spills recorded in Egina .

Recall  that last August,   the Maritime Regulatory agency  in a bid to reduce  the  number of casualties  at the collapsed  ‘’rig majestyc ‘’, belonging to Deepsize  Nigeria Limited by rented y Seplat  Petroleum    had sent a Search  and Rescue team  to the incident scene.

The ilfated  Panama  Flagged rig,  was said to have been operating in Nigerian waters since 2016 without the requisite approvals from the  agency  as enshirine in the NIMASA Act of 2007.   The Seplat rented Majestic rig   was said to have capsized  at  Ovhor  in Warri, Delta state , killing a Britons and some Nigerians working on the rig.     

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